Thursday, June 4, 2009

Show me the money .....Should I ?

Jeff Hayzlett, chief marketing officer and vice president at Eastman Kodak Co., gave the keynote speech at the annual Ad Council of Rochester luncheon yesterday.

"Marketers are going to have to stand up against ROI," Hayzlett said. "People talk about ROI, what's your return on investment. What's the return on ignoring? That's a bigger factor than ... the finance." (as reported by the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle).

Interesting observation indeed. Diametrically opposite to the established Conventional Wisdom. But a dilemma faced increasingly by people working in the spheres of technical or business innovation. Can we easily or accurately calculate the ROI of delivering key Business Intelligence to Sales Reps on their handheld devices versus the information being mailed to them periodically ?

What is the ROI on laying off people ? Have companies ever taken stock of what the real gains from layoffs are after factoring in all the costs (including the hidden costs like loss of institutional wisdom, connections, business knowledge etc.)

Can we calculate the ROI of keeping a pet? raising a child?

Should ROI have determined the feasibility of Wright Brother's efforts to build a heavier than air flying machine? Did ROI calculations justify the replacement of the horse and cart by the automobile? or the invention of the computer?

A few years ago, in a similar vein some economists had come up with the Gross National Happiness (GNH) instead of the usual GDP and GNP to measure the wealth of a nation.

Looks like we are ready for a measure better than ROI.

p.s. I wonder what the conversation between Mr. Hayzlett and the Kodak CFO would have been after the now famous ROI quote. I would have loved to be a fly on the wall to listen to that conversation.

How about you share your thoughts on what the CFO said to the 140 characters or less (this is the era of Twitter)

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